May 10, 2021

"Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker or maybe it’s because I always feel like I have to present my best self to the world, but it has been such a relief to feel anonymous. It’s like having a force field around me that says 'don’t see me.'"

Says Francesca, a 46-year-old professor, quoted in "The people who want to keep masking: ‘It’s like an invisibility cloak’/More than a year into the pandemic, some people prefer to keep wearing their face mask – even outdoors in public" (The Guardian). 

There's also this, from a 25-year-old bookstore worker near Chicago: "It’s a common consensus among my co-workers that we prefer not having customers see our faces. Oftentimes when a customer is being rude or saying off-color political things, I’m not allowed to grimace or ‘make a face’ because that will set them off. With a mask, I don’t have to smile at them or worry about keeping a neutral face. I have had customers get very upset when I don’t smile at them. I deal with anti-maskers constantly at work. They have threatened to hurt me, tried to get me fired, thrown things at me and yelled ‘fuck you’ in my face. If wearing a mask in the park separates me from them, I’m cool with that."

And from a 33-year-old tech worker in San Francisco: "I 10,000% plan on wearing it for the foreseeable future. After a full work day of worrying and not being able to focus on my actual job, it just feels nice to blend in. Simply put, I’m sick of being perceived."


Ann Althouse said...

One reader emails: "You included an excerpt that quoted a 33-year-old tech worker and highlighted "Simply put, I’m sick of being perceived." I am more drawn to the phrase "After a full work day of worrying and not being able to focus on my actual job." This person was comfortable saying to a reporter that they spend their full workday not doing their job, but are "sick of being perceived?" Perhaps sick of being rightfully perceived as someone too worried about others' opinions to be able to do their job well?"

Ann Althouse said...

JK writes: "So, what if the Covington kid had had a mask to put on instead of being crucified for trying to put on a neutral face while having someone encroach on his personal space for political reasons? No ‘smirk” no story.

Ann Althouse said...

Timothy quotes Emily Dickinson:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one's name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Ann Althouse said...

Bruce writes: "Last night at a grocery store by campus in Missoula, I got into a masking controversy. First an employee started yelling at me for not masking. I asked him why should I? And told him his store wasn’t marked as requiring masks. We went outside, and sure enough, there was a sign there - just facing away from those entering the store. On the way back in, a middle aged patron told me that he was offended by my attitude. I responded that I was offended by his. And we were off, yelling at each other. We were both, of course, vaccinated. Didn’t matter to him - it was the law (actually probably just Missoula city ordinance or pronouncement). I have never been treated this rudely in a store in my 70 years. I wonder if at least part of it was that they were emboldened by the partial anonymity of wearing a mask. I should also note that AntiFA was wearing masks when engaged in intimidation, arson, and assaults even before masking mandates were initiated across the country. "

Ann Althouse said...

Lem writes: "driving Lyft I can totally identify with the bookstore clerk. The high expectation of being nice to people (no matter what?) seems muted by the distancing of both strangers having to mask up. Before the pandemic my app rating usually hovered at 4.8 to 4.9, with a rare perfect 5.0 week. But since masking up it is rare when I get a less than perfect 5.0 rating."

Ann Althouse said...

John writes: "“I deal with anti-maskers constantly at work. They have threatened to hurt me, tried to get me fired, thrown things at me and yelled ‘fuck you’ in my face.” So there is now a radical anti masker movement near Chicago? I’m skeptical. And are they really descending on bookstores to terrorize young employees? Or is this young person making it up to elevate her virtue while being interviewed? Thrown things?"